A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of by André Comte-Sponville

By André Comte-Sponville

André Comte-Sponville, A Small Treatise at the nice Virtues, translated through Catherine Temerson (New York, Holt Paperbacks, 2001)

The in need of it truly is that this booklet will make you are feeling reliable approximately being good.

The lengthy of it is:

i used to be doing a paper on `value ethics', and my adventure was once that during the area philosophy, particularly given that 1903, with the publishing of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica and his promulgation of the `naturalistic fallacy', the dignity of values and personality had almost disappeared. This normal effect was once proven while I checked out a number of scholarly ethics texts from the 1960's they usually proven in simple talking, that the examine of ethics had develop into an research of language, given the King Kong sized impact of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the strong Joe younger sized works of J. L. Austin, an immediate descendent of the impression of G. E. Moore's kind of philosophy.

yet I stored following my nostril and in a really contemporary ethics ebook through Terry Eagleton, difficulty With Strangers, he criticized either ecu psychologized ethics of Jacques Lacan and the 'high-toned' morality speak of legislation, correct, responsibility, precept, and legal responsibility traceable to Immanuel Kant. Eagleton additionally brought up a comparatively new selection of papers, advantage Ethics, which headlined an immense 1958 paper through Wittgenstein scholar, G.E.M. Anscombe on `Modern ethical Philosophy' which begun a go back to advantage ethics. The irony is that the flaw Anscombe pinpointed in ethical philosophy is the absence of sound research in `philosophical psychology', an issue which continuously sounded extraordinary to me, because the background of philosophy, in particular from the traditional Greeks as much as Descartes, used to be a spinning off of disciplines to young children akin to physics, arithmetic, and psychology. yet ethics, specifically advantage ethics and some of the flavors of Utilitarianism stand and fall by means of what they suggest via psychological states comparable to `pleasure' and `happiness'. So, looking back, i used to be no longer too stunned while I searched amazon.com for `virtues' and personality, and got here up with not anything yet books on self-help, psychology, and `Christian values'. That final is not surprising, because the modern educational ethical philosophy is all approximately ideas and values for the crowd. It spends almost no time at the ethical standpoint at the person. yet I did locate one functional e-book on `moral values' that's a becoming supplement to the recent theoretical paintings on virtues. this can be the publication brought up above, through a contemporary French professor of philosophy on the Sorbonne. in line with the thumbnail biographical caricature, this e-book has been translated into 19 languages and has been a bestseller in France.

My first actual reactions have been that the booklet was once no longer a superficially saccharine therapy of the topic and that it did supply severe reflections at the virtues which depended on techniques from many nice philosophers and essayists akin to Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, Epicurus, Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant, Montaigne, Friedrich Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Spinoza, and Simon Weil. and people are only the excessive issues. while the identify says `great virtues, I part look forward to finding the seven virtues of Catholic theology or `the seven heavenly virtues' which distinction the seven lethal sins. as a substitute, i locate eighteen, with way more congruence with Aristotle than with the church fathers. those eighteen, in a a little intuitive order, are:
(Sorry, Amazon squeezes out the entire tabs and additional spaces)

Politeness constancy Prudence Temperance
Courage Justice Generosity Compassion
Mercy Gratitude Humility Simplicity
Tolerance Purity Gentleness stable Faith
Humor Love

The perception of prudence can have been one in all Aristotle's maximum contributions to ethical philosophy. it's the estate which tempers the slavish devotion to ideas to anything which literally displays good judgment in life.

One irony of advantage ethics is that at the one hand, it really is visible as a way to set up an ethical conception autonomous of a trust in God, whereas it additionally seems a stronger embodiment of the Christian ethics of the Gospels than the principles established considering Kant or the `greatest strong for the best quantity' utilitarianism of Mill. those are either `Apollonian' types of ethics. with out checking my Nietzsche texts, i think `virtue ethics' is a extra balanced mixture of the Apollonian with the Dionysian, grounded in instinct, emotion, a bit of volatile, and with an appreciation of the chaotic.

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He went to a bookseller’s shop and asked where men like Socrates could be found. Just then, Crates the Cynic was walking by. ” And so it was, we are told, that Zeno became Crates’ pupil. ”1 The Cynics had little interest in philosophical theorizing. They instead advocated a rather extreme philosophical lifestyle. 30 The Rise of Stoicism They were ascetics. Socially speaking, they were the ancient equivalent of what we today call the homeless: They lived in the streets and slept on the ground. ” Theirs was a day-to-day, hand-to-mouth existence.

Indeed, even if Seneca had never written a word of philosophy, he would have made it into the history books for three other reasons. He would be remembered as a successful playwright. He would be remembered for his financial undertakings: He appears to have been a prototypical investment banker who became enormously wealthy in large part because of his financial acumen. And finally, he would be remembered for the role he played in the politics of first-century Rome; besides being a senator, he was a tutor and subsequently a principal advisor to Emperor Nero.

It is clearly possible for a religion to require its adherents to adopt a particular philosophy of life. Consider, by way of illustration, the Hutterite religion, which teaches its adherents that one of the most valuable things in life is a sense of community. Hutterites are therefore forbidden to own private property, the rationale being that such ownership would give rise to feelings 24 The Rise of Stoicism of envy, which in turn would disrupt the sense of community the Hutterites value. ) Most religions, however, don’t require their adherents to adopt a particular philosophy of life.

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